The Past few seasons the Green Bay Packers defense has struggled. Last year their futility reached epic proportions as they finished near dead last in many statistical categories.
And though we as fans love watching Aaron Rodgers late game heroics, I don’t think anyone would complain if the defense took matters into their own hands.
Lack of Leadership
It’s no secret we lack a leader on defense; someone who by his sheer playmaking ability commands respect but also rises to the occasion in crunch-time.
In the past we’ve had the likes of Reggie White and Charles Woodson who filled that role and even a young Clay Matthews to some extent. Unfortunately at present, Clay isn’t consistent enough to be that guy.
Is there someone on the Packers current roster who has all the attributes to be that guy? Someone with the intelligence, charisma and hunger? Someone who possesses the freaky physical ability, poise and professionalism to lead by example in the locker room and back it up on the field?
Until the past two preseason games I would have to say no.
New Guy On The Block
Oren Burks, our Third Round draft choice at Lineback from Vanerdbilt University might be that guy.
OB leads the team with 9 tackles in his first two games as a pro but more importantly, he is displaying the big play ability that the Packers desperately need to turn the corner.
On the play below, OB sprints to the ball carrier and makes a text book tackle for a loss. He demonstrates quickness, decisiveness and the ability to finish.
Oren Burks made the play… but, watch Kenny Clark take on the double team like an All-Pro. pic.twitter.com/ma9uAd97Sv
— Jake (@SeedsofJake) August 17, 2018
On the next play below, OB moves laterally while keeping his eyes on the ball carrier and shedding a block (albeit a weak one) to make the play along the sideline.
On this play he demonstrates gap discipline, his ability to shed blocks and close on the ball in traffic.
One of the better snaps for #Packers rookie Oren Burks… Burks can glide laterally and beat blocks with his legs no problem. But can he handle his business and get off blocks when an OG climbs up to 2nd level on him… pic.twitter.com/lx05T8tmAZ
— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) August 13, 2018
Been There Done That
Prior to being chosen by the Packers, OB was a mainstay for the Vanderbilt defense, playing in 40 of 45 games including starting 7 of 8 games during his redshirt freshman year in 2014. He amassed a modest 228 tackles, 15.5 for a loss and 4.5 sacks in 42 games while playing three different positions.
Draft Wire boasted that OB may be one this year’s biggest draft sleepers possessing versatility, athleticism and intelligence. The trifecta for successful linebackers.
OB spoke about what it takes to be a leader in the same Draft Wire article saying,
You have to be a vocal leader that can command a defense. You need to be aware of what those around you are doing, and that goes for both the defense and the offense. You have to be aware of what your teammates are doing at all times. I had to know what everybody’s job was and I had to make sure they were in the right place to get the job done.
OB has proven his leadership ability at the collegiate level and now he has to prove it all over again in the NFL. I believe he can!
It’s OK To Be Excited
I know it’s only two preseason games but it’s OK to be excited about a new talent who has brought hope to a beleaguered Packers defense.
— IKE Packers (@IKE_Packers) April 28, 2018